Sitting next to someone with a cold at church.

A few weeks ago, the person next to me at church didn’t have a nose.

They just had a faucet that was continually dripping extras from that Mucinex commercial. (Grossest mascot ever.)

They were also doing “sprinkler coughing.” That’s where you rotate your coughs from side to side, covering the most square foot radius with your germs like a sprinkler across a lawn.

Now I know what you’re thinking, “Jesus loved the lepers.”

That’s a good point, and I thought about it. Jesus was a friend and fan of the sick, but is there any Biblical proof that he sat next to one of them at church? Is there a scene from the Sermon on the Mount where he’s sitting in the crowd? Maybe Peter is introducing him, “Back from a 40 day tour in the desert, here for a very limited engagement, you’ve seen him walk on water, know he heals the sick, help me give a warm mount welcome to Jesus!”

And Jesus fist bumps that sick guy next to him, stands up and grabs the mic. Did that happen? Because otherwise I feel like this situation is not directly addressed. You can’t move seats either. That’s super rude if you have a small church.

I ended up staying there and just started wearing a feedbag of grapefruits and oranges around the house the rest of the day. Regardless, I didn’t do what a different lady at church did to me one day. During the middle of the sermon, she reached over and handed me a kleenex.

Don’t confuse that with compassion. If I had asked for a kleenex, that was compassion. Since I didn’t, the goal of that kleenex was simple, “Shut up. You are ruining the Jesus with all your coughing.”

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  1. Sarah May says

    I din’t go to church when I am sick. Because I take the bus I have to wake up earlier,walk to and from the bus stop,sit through a sermon which I will not really pay attention because I am sick,I don’t like the thought of make others sick.

  2. Kristen says

    There is a solution to this… If you don’t 100% have to be somewhere when you are sick, (school, church, work, the store, the movies, mall, etc…), DON’T GO! The elderly, small children, and those with weakened immune systems can catch your 24-hour case of the sniffles and be sick for days or WEEKS! A lot of people end up in the hospital because of people that won’t stay home when they’re sick.

    I, myself, am sick because someone at my home church got my parents sick. I’ve had to go to the ER, I’m on a bunch of different medicines, and now I sound like I’m dying every time I cough. All of this, just because someone wanted to push through the day with their flu.

  3. John says

    You could keep a small vial of oil in your fanny pack for moments like this. No one would fault you for pouring it over the cougher’s head. The problem might just remove itself.

  4. Sharon says

    Thanks for judging. As someone with asthma, winters can be brutal, and I spend more time coughing than not. I am glared at, people “recommend” that I go home until I feel better, and in general, I am made to feel like an outcast. Maybe I should have a shirt made that says, ” Excuse the cough. I’m not sick, I have Asthma.”

  5. Beth says

    Once while in Ethiopia, I sat next to a man that kept coughing and spitting into a bag at church. I prayed for him silently, assuming he had TB or some terrible illness. (I also prayed for myself for fear I would catch it). Later I discovered he and about 100 other coughing parishioners were “coughing” out evil within. They would cough and spit into bags and then take the bags up to the alter. Awesome.

    • says

      If only life were that simple.

      On a side note, how badly do you have to mess up in church for the Pastor to assign you the “ministry” of clearing the altar after that service?


  6. Mary Ann Marko says

    During cold/flu season my church informs everyone , “Since it is flu season, please say good morning to your neighbor, but feel free not to shake hands, an elbow bump will work just fine.” They make light of it. Everyone laughs and it avoids that awkwardness and the need to shake hands. I really wish when people are sick that they would avoid going to work and church (where you are in close quarters). Do everyone a favor and don’t spread the flu bug; your miserable, why make the rest of us.

  7. ClintM says

    At my church, after the worship and before we sit down, they usually ask us to take a moment and say hello to a few people around you. Last winter during flu season they said, “Say hello to a few people around you, and refrain from shaking hands because everyone is sick, but fist bumps are encouraged.”

  8. Turtle says

    God love all you judgemental christians..what would the world
    Be without yall!!! And yes Jesus stood directly in front of a Leper and healed instead of running from your sick how bout u man up and pray with them or extend ur hand and pray!

    8 When Jesus came down from the mountainside, large crowds followed him. 2 A man with leprosy[a] came and knelt before him and said, “Lord, if you are willing, you can make me clean.”

    3 Jesus reached out his hand and touched the man. “I am willing,” he said. “Be clean!” Immediately he was cleansed of his leprosy. 4 Then Jesus said to him, “See that you don’t tell anyone. But go, show yourself to the priest and offer the gift Moses commanded, as a testimony to them.”

    • spinetingler says

      Yeah, Jesus – son of God, healer, etc. He had nothing to fear from a random virus.

      Us regular folks though…

  9. Dean says

    While this is pretty bad, I think it’s worse when the elderly come to church while they aren’t feeling well then he/she faints or collapses so that the service is interrupted and the ambulance needs to be called to come take them to the hospital to make sure they are okay. That totally ruins the Jesus too.

  10. Moriah says

    The worst is when it’s communion, and the guy sitting next to you is coughing like crazy, directly into his hands (NOT his elbows, like your supposed to), and then he gets up to pass out the “elements”,